tv House Democratic Leaders News Conference CSPAN July 16, 2019 11:10am-11:40am EDT
that's exactly what america needed a president who could come in and shake up washington. speaker ryan was perfect in the job where he was at. the knowledge of what he had. that combination together was able -- we made sure in this congress that we got tax reform done. remember this, article 1, section 7 tax reform doesn't start in the senate. it starts in the house. without speaker ryan and without president trump it never would have gotten done. thank you. reporter: on o socialism -- a question. >> remarks from republican leaders earlier today regarding the president's comments about some of the newer democratic members of the house. members will be gaveling back in at noon eastern time. and taking up the resolution condemning the president's comments. the tweets were one of the topics at today's briefing with house democrats as well. this is about half an hour. >> good morning, everyone. mr. jeffries: just another slow week in washington, d.c.
but very productive meeting today focused on the business of the week. focused on the values that we as democrats hold dear. and focused on our commitment to the highest ideals of the united states of america. one thing has been clear during the 2 1/2 years of donald trump's presidency. there are very sharp differences teen what we as house democrats and the democratic party is about, and what donald trump and trumpism is about. democrats want to move the country forward. donald trump wants to turn back the clock. democrats want to bring america together. donald trump is tearing us apart. democrats are fighting for the
people. donald trump is fighting for he privileged few. we fight for the least, the lost, even left behind. we fight for everyday americans. that's what we are going to do this week. leading with our legislation to ive america a raise. over the last year or so leading up to 2018, we made clear we would fight to increase pay for everyday americans, that is exactly what we are going to do this week. because we believe that in the wealthiest country in the
history of the world, no merican should be left behind. we need to lift everyone up not the privileged few. not the tax scam where the tax relief went to 1% of america. that was a moral outrage. this week we continue on a course correction. we look forward to a strong and a robust vote on a minimum wage, living wage legislation. with that let me yield to my good friend, distinguished vice hair, katherine clark. this is really at the course of our for the people agenda.
creating jobs and increasing wages. ms. clark: we are going to be able to hear this morning from two of our outstanding new members of congress, congresswoman katie hill, and congressman david trone. i would like to just highlight the fact that for working women in this country, this is a particularly important vote and increase. it is going to give an estimated 23 million working women a raise. this is going to help narrow the wage gap that disproportionately affects women of color. and we are thrilled to be able to vote on this today and make sure that everyone who is working is able to support their families. what we found in this economy is that working hard is not enough. this is really going to go a long way to make sure that every american has a fair shot
at success. we also are taking votes this week on holding attorney general william barr and secretary of commerce wilbur ross in contempt of congress. they have defied our bipartisan subpoenas for documents around the census. and this is about a pillar of our democracy. since day one this administration has worked to d a dangerous discriminatory question to the census in order to, as they have now described in documents that have come out, to silence immigrants, people of color, and ensure that we suppress the vote. even after the supreme court ruled against this administration, they have refused to provide congress with the information we need to get to the truth. to get to the facts. instead of let an unprecedented, unlawful
campaign to obstruct the house oversight. we have a message for mr. trump, we aren't walking away from our oversight responsibilities. we are not walking away from our responsibilities under article 1 of the constitution. we are a co-equal branch of government, and we are not going anywhere. we will hold this administration and this president accountable. and with that i am very pleased to turn this over to congresswoman katie hill. ms. hill: thank you so much. so glad to be here with my colleagues. i applicatey hill, i'm the co-refy on behalf of the freshmen class to leadership. and i'm the congresswoman for california's 25th congressional district where i'm proud to fight on behalf of regular working people like my own family every single day. before i was in congress, i spent my career working to address the issue of homelessness. tonight in los angeles county where i represent more than 50
,000 people are going to be sleeping on the streets. any single night in los angeles county 50,000 people, hundreds of thousands of people across the country. those of us who work in homelessness know this is a compound of a broken system. not a single issue. it's devastating to me to know that so many of those people are not simply addicted to drugs or struggling with mental health. they are working. they are working full-time jobs. they have kids. they have families. they are sleeping in their cars. and they simply can't make ends meet despite the fact that they are working full-time. in a country with this much wealth, we can no longer excuse the fact that there are people who are working full-time, working hard, who are unable to live. and keep a roof over their head and feed their families of the the data is clear. minimum wage increases are good for workers, they are good for communities, they are good for women, and they are also good for our economy. but 31, i'm win of the youngest members of this historically diverse freshmen class and i
have seen the effects of low minimum wage on young people and women specifically. i have been a server myself. i was at a server at a restaurant for four years living off tips and worked in minimum wage restaurant. i know if we ever want to deal with issues like the housing crisis, the student loan debt crisis, and all of the other barriers between my generation and the american dream, then we have to address the critically low minimum wage across this country. i believe that starts with the raise the wage act, and that's why i'm so proud to be an original co-sponsor of this legislation which will incrementally get us to a $15 an hour minimum wage across the united states by the year 2024. i'm getting ready to head home for the august district work period and i'm proud i'm going to be able to look members of our unions, hardworking single moms, and struggling young people in the eyes and say we are fighting for them in washington. i along with my democratic colleagues will continue to work to put the needs of the american people and american workers above all else so everyone has access to the american dream. and i think that it's so, so
important that this stays at the top of our radars. we have so many distractions going on. we have a president who is trying to keep the focus on him instead of the issues that matter to every single person in this country. and that's exactly what we are trying to do the opposite of. thank you so much. i appreciate your time. i'd like to yield to my wonderful colleague, david trone. mr. trone: good morning, everyone. i'm david trone from maryland's sixth district. montgomery county in western maryland. i'm a proud original co-sponsor of the the raise the wage act. it's over a decade. our workers haven't got one doll amplet we need to step forward here. i have a unique perspective on this. i'm a business entrepreneur. a business founder. i start add small company almost 30 years ago. today the company has over 7,000 team members. in 25 states across the country. i understandbys extremely well
-- understandbys extremely well. the most important -- understand business extremely well. the most important are your team. the folks who work in the business, they are the ones that make the difference. you evaluate what's the right thing to do for your business, your small business, your medium business, it's treat and focus on your team members. that's what's going to take care of the customer. if we take care of the customer the business wins, worker wins, everybody wins together. this is a win-win legislation. the democratic party sometimes gets lost as far as who we really are. but we are the party of progressive capitalism. we understand that capitalism is what's built america into the best system anywhere in the world. it's a job creation machine. but we've got to be progressive. we've got to realize that great
wages, health care for everybody, fmla, partner benefits, all those things that my company has done, those are the things that really make america who we are and celebrate our diversity and help us move forward together. when a price increase comes up on steel, what do businesses do? they raise the retail. hey raise their costs. when a price increase comes up on hamburger or wine, that cost gets put on. the most important cost is the cost of our teams. with a cost increase in labor costs to $15 that cost needs to e passed on. i operate in the merkts, there is no zero job loss. the rs get a better deal
prices go up a small amount, a little bit, as the price goes up those costs are passed on, 330 million of us pay a little bit more for our hamburger, for chicken, for restaurant, small amount more. but you know what, the 1.8 million folks that do not have a living wage, they are lifted up to a living wage and we owe that back to them. we owe that back to society, that's the party that we are. to stand up and work across the board with everybody as team america. i strongly support this. it's important we get it done. as katie said, our focus should be on what the party's accomplishing not the distractions which are totally irrelevant. we can't let him control the agenda. we have to drive the agenda. it's the agenda for the american people. thank you. mr. jeffries: thank you
congressman trone, congresswoman hill, and of course katherine clark. inaudible] mr. jeffries: the decision has been made by leadership with the full support of the overwhelming majority of the house democratic caucus that this is the right approach to take at this moment. there will be accountability measures that we'll have to consider as we move forward. but at the moment that we are in right now we want the strongest vote possible and we are hopeful that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would put country ahead of party. would put decency ahead of donald trump. let's see what happens on the floor later this evening. -- ter: over the weekend inaudible]
mr. jeffries: i'm unfamiliar with that particular incident. any time a life is lost in the united states of america, it's cause for concern. the person that needs to tone down the zone phobic and racist rhetoric that is consistently pedaled out of 1600 pennsylvania avenue is donald . trump. reporter: inaudible] mr. jeffries: the tweet speaks or itself. we are working through that issue at the highest level.
and the speaker is in discussion with the administration to try to resolve our fiscal situation in the most responsible manner possible. updates on that matter even further i would elevate the question to the speaker's ffice. [inaudible] mr. jeffries: i'll let my other colleagues weigh in on this or any other issue. i am i'll simply say in terms of what's in front of us there is a resolution that lifts up american values with respect to america being a nation of immigrants. some voluntary, others involuntary, but as dr. king said, we are all in the same boat now. our diversity is a strength, it
is not a weakness. we should come together not as democrats or republicans, but as americans to condemn the language that has offended so many that donald trump has used. moving forward we have bob mueller testifying before the judiciary committee next week under the leadership of chairman nadler. that will be an important moment as it relates to accountability. and we'll see what happens hereafter. ms. clark: i think at this moment we want to be clear it's not about which tactic, which vehicle we choose, crensure, condemnation, all being considered this week. they are tactics. our focus as house democrats is on the division that this
president continues to sew. this is his plan, to take's people's fears and anxieties and divide us as a country. what house democrats are for, we are saying whether you are white, black, brown, asian, or native american, we are building a future. we have an agenda that will ensure that you have a place in our economy, that you have a place where you can have a family, live the american dream. this president with his racist attacks is showing us that he is not concerned with anything but further enriching those who are already rich and owerful. his plan is to distract us, to divide us, so they can pickpocket us while we are not looking. that is what we are speaking out against. this attack on american values,
this attack on trying to be a country that is the united states of america, not the divided states. that's what we're saying, and the tactics are second to that purpose of holding this administration accountable for their racist comments that are trying to sow those seeds of acquisition. -- division. ms. hill: so i have the honor of serving on the house armed services committee and i think something that isn't emphasized enough is that our enemies want nothing more than for us to be divided as a country, and every single day that the president has this kind of rhetoric he's playing directly into the hands of our enemies, so it's important for us to do everything we can to try and bring us back together and i think this resolution, the way it is being authored, is an attempt to say as americans, regardless of your party, we do not believe that people are --
that people are somehow less than others because of the color of their skin or their country of origin. or because you disagree with the president of the united states. and i think we have to show the world that this isn't who we are as a country. we have to show ourselves, our neighbors that this isn't who we are as americans. and this is such an important message for us to send across the entire globe. we are constantly fighting the rhetoric that this president is putting out there. we cannot have this kind of division moving forward. i'm hopeful our colleagues across the aisle will join us in recognizing that. mr. trone: i think katie nailed it. it would be great if it's bipartisan. this is what it should be. this is a country that's in the middle and we're in the middle and that's about getting things done, but our diversity is what's made everything in america work for centuries, and we got to celebrate that and i sit on the house foreign affairs committee and as katie talked about, i mean, it's
allowing our adversaries to show us in complete disarray and discord. that's the wrong thing. we need to pull together and united, and support each other and move the country forward and focus on the business of america. raising the wage act. all those things about how we can lift americans up together and let this distraction move on. we had a good response. let's do it. mr. jeffries: we'll go here and then -- reporter: thank you. do you believe congresswoman ocasio-cortez [indiscernible] following the tweet over the weekend? mr. jeffries: that's a personnel matter that i'll leave for her to resolve. i have great respect for every single member of the house democratic caucus from alexandria ocasio-cortez to josh gottheimer, and everyone in between.
reporter: is the house democratic account go after the chief of staff or any other --mr. jeffries: the house democratic caucus account will continue to highlight the efforts by members to work on the kitchen table pocketbook issues that are important to the american people. eporter: [indiscernible] how do democrats have a message for those in the middle [indiscernible] of the country, how do you talk to them? s. clark: you know it is about the for the people agenda, and it is about showing that everybody needs those pathways to success, to get a fair shot. and immigration is used by this president.
his words were vial this week. this is his go-to because he knows when we are unified, when we are talking about how to build shared prosperity, how to give every child in this country a shot at success, with a good education, how to give families a living wage like we are doing this week, how to create good jobs by investing in infrastructure, reducing the .osts of prescription drugs making sure everyone has health insurance, he knows that he will be revealed as the failed president that he is. his only tactic -- and this has been from his first ride down that escalator as a candidate -- has been to divide us, to stoke fears of the other, to say that somehow immigrants are the ones who are responsible for the failure to have wages keep pace with our economy.
he wants to not look at the fact that he signed major tax bill that was totally aimed at the top 1%, that he continues to make the winner circle very small, and that middle americans, your everyday working families are on the losing end of these policies of this administration. and the way he does that is by using hate, by using racism, by using bias to deflect and to divide. he will continue to do this, and what we're doing as house democrats is calling that out and saying what really needs to happen is whoever you are, whatever ethnic, religious background you may have, whatever your immigration status, whether you're fifth generation american or a
newcomer, that there is a place at the table for you and that our focus is on your needs, the issues you talk about around your kitchen table, not those of division, of sewing these seeds of hatred and racism that this president wants to focus on. that's our for the people agenda. that's where we will remain focused and working for the people who sent us here. ms. hill: i come from one of the districts that flipped and i think there's a few things in terms of how i talk in my community about this issue of immigration because it is something that comes up over and over again. but we're split. we have a large number of people who are, you know, come from immigrant families themselves and we have people who are from law enforcement backgrounds. and who are concerned about border security. the thing i try to approach it from -- the way i try to approach it is from a place of values. what do we care about as
americans? who are we as americans? when you talk about the kinds of situations that people are fleeing, they are not coming here, they are not traveling 1,000 miles across, you know, horrible landscapes, putting their families in danger because they want to -- i don't even know what they might -- what the president thinks they might want to do but they're doing it out of desperation. for my constituents, we are best served when we are actually -- when we have the resources on border patrol, have the resources to truly secure our border, to focus on people who are trafficking drugs or who are, you know, actual dangerous criminals and not the families and the unaccompanied minors who are currently the ones that are coming here in a huge way. so i think we have to make sure that the resources are there in the appropriate fashion. we have to address the root causes. that's why later this summer i'm planning on visiting the northern triangle.
i know a number of my colleagues are as well, but we have to look at this from an entire holistic perspective and not try to put blame on those coming now. it's important for us to continue to reflect who are we, what is the legacy we want to leave, and how do we want the world to see us for the foreseeable future? and right now, the images coming out of those facilities do not reflect our values. mr. jeffries: i'll go to the ack. reporter: [indiscernible] the new asylum policy, are there concrete plans from house democrats? mr. jeffries: well, we'll take a look at his latest announcement which i presumed is anchored with and dripping ith zenphobia. at the end of the day, we believe that america is great
because america is good, and the goodness of the american people understand that we are a nation of immigrants. that has made us stronger as a country, not weaker. the american people fundamentally believe that we should focus on felons, to the extent there is immigrant enforcement. donald trump is targeting and focused on breaking up families. nd in his failure to undermine existing u.s. law as it relates to the right for people to lawfully seek asylum at our borders and to present credible fears of persecution, that is what is happening down on the u.s.-mexico border with families and young children in many instances fleeing persecution and presenting
themselves to immigration authorities, consistent with u.s. law. donald trump is undermining united states law. i think that's something that the american people will reject. we got two questions, and then we'll end the back and then the center. reporter: on july 2 -- indiscernible] mr. jeffries: well, the state department issued what i thought was a positive-leaning statement of concern as it relates to both the terms of confinement and the conditions that asap rocky finds himself in. congressman espaillat has led the charge and i expect him to do so. last question. thanks.
reporter: asylum seekers denied asylum, should they be allowed to stay or be deported? mr. jeffries: well, we have a broken immigration system in the united states of america that needs a complete and total re-evaluation. it should be done in a bipartisan fashion. we will believe that we want to move toward comprehensive immigration reform with perhaps the starting point for some being the 2013 bipartisan legislation that came out of the united states senate. it's important for us to get out of the cycle of xenophobia and hatred that the president has us in right now so that we can work on solving the problems of the american people. both as it relates to improving the quality of life of everyday americans and solving our broken immigration system. thank you, everyone. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and